Foreman, at right, fighting Vinroy Barrett in Atlantic City in 2008.(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Yuri Foreman, a 29-year-old Belarus-born boxer who moved to Haifa at age 11 and now lives in New York City, will become Israel’s first-ever fighter in a world championship bout when he battles for the welterweight title in November. But the auspiciously-named Foreman has his eyes trained on even higher goals—the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports he’s studying to become an Orthodox rabbi. His website’s adorned with religious references—the first thing it shows is a star of David with a lion inside, an allusion to his astrological sign. Foreman’s also something of a polymath, listing favorite books (the Bible and all things Vonnegut), films (In the Mood For Love and all things Miyazaki), and musicians (classical music and all things Motorhead).

Above all, he’s got love for Israel, describing the euphoria he felt upon first arriving there. “I remember how different it smelled—so fresh and fragrant. When we arrived in the airport, the Israelis welcomed us with wedges of fresh oranges. I had never tasted anything so sweet and delicious before. I thought I had arrived in paradise.”

Israeli Boxer Set for Championship Bout [JTA]
Yuri Foreman [Official site]